Cycling in France
This page is dedicated to cyclists who would like to ride on the wonderful French roads, but have either never made the effort or who are worried about cycling on the "wrong side" of the road. Let me put these doubts to rest. As someone who has cycled many thousands of kilometers in 'la belle France' in the last few years, I can positively state the following reasons for going:
1. Cycling on the right takes only a few minutes to get to grips with, but you must remember to position yourself in the centre of the road and watch for oncoming traffic from the right when you have to turn left at junctions.
2. French drivers do drive fast, but cyclists are considered part of the way of life and therefore treated with respect. You won't find drivers trying to squeeze past as they do here and they will mostly wait patiently for oncoming traffic before overtaking.
3. There are virtually thousands of small lanes to cycle on, and with a good map (I recommend the IGN Tourisme et Découvert Top 100 series (only available online) which has a brilliant 1 cm. - 1 km. scale) you can navigate from point to point without touching a larger road. There are also many redundant rail tracks converted to leisure routes, with generous width and smooth tarmac surface. But most of all, it is exciting, with new vista's every day, new people to meet, new food to eat.
4, French B & B accommodation is excellent, includes a good breakfast and is reasonably priced, and after a long day's ride there are plenty of good restaurants - the food is great and the wine is even better....what else do you need!
Onwards and upwards in the Boulognaise.
View from the coll near Mazamet
Getting to France with your bike is easy and I have listed the different ways below.
EUROPEAN BIKE EXPRESS
Bike Express offers bike transport for you and your bike into Europe from over 17 UK pick-up/drop-off points and 25 drop-off/pick-up points in France and Spain.
It is the best way into Europe for you and your bike and it is much greener than other modes of transport. You create the itinerary and they transport you safely and comfortably in a new coach, with plenty of legroom, with your bike fully assembled. All you need to do is turn your handlebars 90 degrees to the left.
Bike-Express offers a large range of destinations, with many different routes into all regions of France and into Spain. There is a link on their website to download a full brochure, and bookings can be made on line.
Click on the logo to go to EBE website
CYCLE TO THE CONTINENT WITH EUROTUNNEL LE SHUTTLE
Transporting you from a pick-up in Folkestone to Coquelles in France, with a minibus and bike trailer - two return trips a day, which takes less than an hour from pick-up to drop-off.An ideal gateway for touring northern France. Fares from £20
A maximum of 6 cyclists and their cycles can be carried on any departure.
The fare is the same for adults and children with cycles.
Children accompanying their parents on a child seat travel free of charge.
Tandems charged by the number of seats, occupied or not. Trailers are dependent on size.
For more information, prices and booking click HERE for Eurotunnel Shuttle website.
BIKES ON EUROSTAR
It is also possible to travel from London to destinations in France on Eurostar with bikes in one piece,no bags or boxes needed. Click HERE for information.
CROSS CHANNEL FERRIES
All major south and east coast ferry companies have spaces for bikes.
Ferries from Dover go to northern France (Calais/ Dunkerque/ Boulogne).
Ferries from Portsmouth and Poole go to Normandy (le Havre/ Cherbourg/ St. Malo/ Caen and Roscoff).
All companies now offer an excellent comfort level and service.
Things change frequently in the ferry business so view the major ferry websites for up to date information.
You may notice that I have made no mention of flying to France.
My only comment..............if you love your bike............DON'T.
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